July 25, 2004

Good lord! Now Will Hutton does a Hutton

In a ludicrous puff piece for good old. Zionism, you know, the ethnic cleansing, segregationist one of yesteryear, as distinct from the..er...ethnic cleansing, segregationist one of this year and next, Will Hutton tells us about the lofty egalitarian ideals of the kibbutz movement. Here's a sample:

"The kibbutz movement was a living example of how to build a new society based on genuine equality of opportunity and mutuality of respect in collective democratic communes that actually worked." Actually the kibbutzim were usually founded on land bought from absentee landlords for Jewish settlement only. As they developed they came to rely on Arab labour but it was a rare kibbutz that allowed any Arabs to joins as equals.

It gets worse:
"That was then.Today, Israel's kibbutz movement is in crisis as a succession of right-wing governments has redirected subsidies to support settling the West Bank, where settler numbers are now double those working on kibbutzim. [this ignores the fact that kibbutzim were established in the occupied territories almost as soon as Israel had conquered them so in 1967 as in 1947/8, the kibbutzniks were the shock troops of the Zionist conquest of Palestine.]

The movement is paying the price for clinging to outdated nostrums, like belief in caring, equality and collective action, building Israel within its pre-1967 borders while recognising a Palestinian state and valuing the endless possibility of human development." [the Labour Zionists never recognised the idea of a Palestinian state until quite recently and when you consider how they define Palestinian "statehood" it appears they still haven't come to terms with it. And if it is paying a price it is for its outrageous hypocrisy]

Early in the article Hutton refers to his young "friends who had spent their gap year working on them eulogising about the experience". Did they really not notice the way Arabs were treated? How did they think whole tracts of "Israel" became Arabrein?

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